Mangudadatu to PNP, AFP: Why can’t you go after Maguindanao massacre suspects?
MANILA, Philippines — Maguindanao Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Wednesday questioned the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as to why 80 suspects in the Maguindanao massacre still remain at large.
Mangudadatu said hideouts of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and members of various private armed groups linked to the November 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao which left 58 people dead, including his wife and 32 journalists, are not too large anyway for it not to be busted by government troops.
“If the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the military are really asserting their efforts to get these people, why not, makukuha ito eh (they can get them),” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“This is a clear message to the law enforcement agencies that if you are really trying to get these people, bakit hindi niyo ito makuha (why can’t you capture them)?” he also said.
Mangudadatu clarified he was not implying that government forces are not working for the arrest of the still at large suspects, but stressed that if they would exert all efforts, the suspects will not be able to hide from the folds of the law.
Only 117 of 197 persons charged with multiple murder for the incident had been arrested, including those who have died and whose cases have been dismissed for various reasons.
The promulgation on the murder case was set at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on December 19, ten years after the victims’ families first cried for justice on the grisly massacre.
For Mangudadatu, the promulgation on the case will be the ultimate “litmus test” on the country’s justice system.
He also noted that even if Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 declares the suspects guilty for the crime, they can still contest the decision before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
“They will rattle the minds of the judges in filing some motions,” said Mangudadatu.
Should the suspects question a possible guilty verdict, Mangudadatu said families of other victims should lose hope in attaining justice that had been elusive for a decade.
Edited by MUF
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.